One of my favorite quotes is by J.R.R. Tolkien: "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." Here I'm giving glimpses of all I am deciding in the time that is given to me. Enjoy! All pictures and posts are mine, thank you! Please ask permission for photo use.

Monday, November 5, 2012

veggie stew to beat the blues

One of my favorite casual restaurants is Le Pain Quotidien. Yes, it is a small-ish chain, but a good one. They have the most glorious pastries, quiches, tartines, and other little treasures. I've enjoyed their vegan six-vegetable quiche, baked in a buckwheat crust; their perfectly simple pumpkin pie, not too sweet and with a whole wheat crust; the roasted Brussels sprouts that have been seasoned to perfection; a vegan cranberry scone that's anything but boring; hot chocolate made with bittersweet liquid chocolate and warm almond milk; the list goes on and on (and on and on)!

Recently there I had a black bean soup that put me in mind of making a hearty bean soup at home. I had a cast iron dutch oven that was begging to be used, and why not start with a delicious veggie stew that could cure any sort of blues?

This past weekend I bought the ingredients and threw them together, and the result was delicious! As always, try to use organic as much as possible to escape the nasty pesticides!

  • Saute one pound of carrots in extra virgin olive oil until softened. Add in a whole chopped onion and keep stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, in the dutch oven, boil four cups of water and dissolve two vegan bouillon cubes. 
Above: I love my Dutch oven because it is green. It totally rocks.
  • Stir in dried split green peas (I think I had about a cup and a half on hand--sorry, sometimes I'm horrible with measuring ingredients!). Add in four cups of veggie broth and keep stirring occasionally. Add spices--whatever you like! I added in a variety of spices--two bay leaves, dried basil, dried oregano, chili powder, and garlic powder (if I had had fresh garlic on hand, I would have used it instead). The nice thing about the vegan bouillon is that the kind I used already had sea salt and spices, and the flavor it imparts is really nice. You could also use white miso to provide a savory flavor. Because my bouillon had salt in it, I used a low sodium broth. I also added NO extra salt to my soup, because I try to maintain my sodium intake, but others might prefer it to be a little saltier (especially those sick with a cold!).
Above: dried, split green peas--the same awesome color as my Dutch oven! These peas rock, too.

Many health grocery stores carry already cooked beans that are in BPA-free containers (Eden's Organic even sells BPA-free canned goods). It's worth the switch--BPA is a nasty endocrine disrupter. Nobody wants (or deserves) that!

Above: spice it up!!

Above: I didn't saute my tomatoes; I added them to the carrots and onions just so I could transfer the veggies to broth mixture all at once. However, I bet sauteed tomatoes would work well too! Did you try it? Let me know how it turns out!
  • Chop up a pint of cherry tomatoes. Add the sauteed carrots and onions and the chopped tomatoes to the broth/peas. Add a container of BPA-free black beans. Finally, add in a small container of frozen chopped spinach (that's been thawing in the fridge for about a day) and stir around. My spinach was still somewhat frozen in the middle when I stuck the stew in the oven, but once in the oven it broke up completely and after I took it out of the oven, the spinach had distributed quite nicely.
  • I stuck my stew in a 300-degree oven for about thirty minutes, then pulled it out and let it cool down slowly on the stove (the veggies were still cooking in the hot liquid). I like my veggies soft, but still slightly crunchy or crisp (what is that called again?). If you want your veggies and peas to be a little softer, try keeping it in the oven for 45 minutes or an hour before pulling it out and letting it cool down.
Stick a spoon in me; I'm done!
  • I didn't have any organic okra on hand, but I absolutely would have added it if I had it. I also might try corn, barley, lentils, broccoli, kale, etc. The options are endless! As long as you have a good base and lots of extra veggies and herbs to enhance the flavor, you really could mix and match as much as possible. For kids, adding small pieces of pasta might be fun!
Stew, glorious stew! Please sir, can I have some more?

1 comment:

  1. "I like my veggies soft, but still slightly crunchy or crisp (what is that called again?"

    al dente?

    Funny we both had hearty veggie soups this week!